Training Teachers: The Trouble with Ed Schools by David F. Labaree Reviewed

Glazer, Nathan. "Training Teachers." Review of The Trouble with Ed Schools by David F. Labaree, Education Next, Summer, 2005.

Excerpt: Once long ago I noticed the great disparity between what theology and religion students were expected to know to write their theses—Latin, Greek, Hebrew, a few modern languages—and where they ended up: teaching religion, not a very high-prestige subject, for modest rewards, in minor liberal arts colleges. A similar disparity exists between the difficulty of teaching well and doing good education research, on the one hand, and, on the other, the low prestige and modest rewards of teachers and education researchers and the schools of education that prepare them both.

This is David Labaree’s subject in The Trouble with Ed Schools, and he is very good at laying out all the considerations that contribute to the low repute of the ed school within the university, despite the acknowledged importance of the area of practice with which it deals. Presidents, governors, leading corporation executives, and intellectuals worry about the quality of our teachers, our schools, and the education they provide, but this seems to do little to raise the prestige of the institution that is primarily responsible for training teachers, doing research, and raising the quality of education. It is not easy to understand the gross disparities between the significance of various tasks for our lives and the rewards to those engaged in these tasks. Why should a baseball player earn ten times more than the president does? (“Well, I had a better year,” Babe Ruth is said to have responded in 1929, when the disparity between his salary and President Hoover’s was only two to one.)

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